The last time we saw RHex, he/she/it wasn’t quite as polished and coordinated as this latest video shows. A lot can and did happen in three months.
The robo hexapod has dreams of one day being used in rescue missions or long haul surveys in the desert but for now it’s basically learning Parkour. At least that’s what the researchers working on RHex at the University of Pennsylvania are saying.
Legs have an advantage over wheels when it comes to rough terrain, but the articulated legs often found on walking robots require complex, specialised instructions for each moving part. To get the most mobility out of RHex’s simple, one-jointed legs, Penn researchers are essentially teaching the robot Parkour. Taking inspiration from human free-runners, the team is showing the robot how to manipulate its body in creative ways to get around all sorts of obstacles.